Mass Incarceration

Fourth quarter Golden Pen winners | Letters

Golden Pen award

Every month, The Journal Gazette selects the letter editors imagine was the month’s handiest. Right here, we acknowledge our winners for the fourth quarter of 2022.


New jail not reply to extra pressing wants

The Journal Gazette’s latest protection of situations on the Allen County Jail is ample testimony to the worth of impartial native newspapers.

The in-depth “Chained to the Previous, Ordered to Enhance” function by James D. Wolf, Jr. (Oct. 2) shines a vivid gentle on the disturbing situations on the jail that brought on a federal choose to compel instant remedial motion. Our county commissioners clearly haven’t paid adequate consideration to the state of affairs, which has festered for much too lengthy. If the reporter’s account is any information, the sheriff’s division is burdened not solely by overcrowding but additionally by an absence of coaching and management. Medical care evidently is totally insufficient, as is the standard of dietary care.

A brand new jail can’t probably deal with all of those points, and based on Christer Watson’s wonderful op-ed (Oct. 4) the case has not but been made {that a} new jail truly is the reply. Watson notes that there are teams of inmates “corresponding to these with solely drug-related, traffic-related or probation-related (offenses) who may very well be moved by means of the jail system considerably sooner,” thus lowering its inhabitants. Furthermore, he notes that inmates housed for different businesses are additionally contributing to the overcrowding.

I discover it hanging that Watson just isn’t a criminologist however a professor of physics at Purdue Fort Wayne. Have the sheriff or commissioners been unable to search out skilled professionals from neighboring faculties and universities to assist them discover options to the issues within the jail?

Even when a brand new jail is ultimately constructed, it would take years to finish. In the meantime, these different points want pressing consideration.

In regards to the writer

October winner John Moore laments that the underlying points that prompted his letter stay unaddressed, whilst the difficulty of the jail’s bodily siting is seemingly resolved.

Moore is a retired U.S. Military lieutenant colonel and a member of the group Fingers not Handcuffs.


Growth will alter Rivergreenway character

Path customers want to concentrate to River Metropolis Ventures’ plan of growth for the southwest nook of Spy Run Prolonged and Parnell Avenue (“Fee hears issues of river challenge,” Nov. 8).

The event of the property contains 5 docks on metropolis property for personal use solely alongside this part of the St. Joe River the place the Rivergreenway path runs alongside the river. The pontoons are the Rum Runner boats that operated out of Guldin Park final summer season.

Every boat has room for 15 passengers. With 5 boats in operation, there may very well be 75 individuals ready to get on the boats on this space and 75 individuals getting off the boats on the identical time each hour. On this part of the Rivergreenway, there isn’t that a lot area between the path and the river. There are additionally 5 blind spots and entries from each ends are down a hill.

Add the truth that when individuals have been consuming, they may not be being attentive to whether or not congregating on the path might trigger an issue.

Simply think about attempting to bike by means of this along with your kids. I hope I’m not the one one considering this quiet, protected path that takes one into Johnny Appleseed Park will turn out to be an unsafe surroundings.

In regards to the writer

Cathie Rowand’s images graced the pages of The Journal Gazette for 36 years earlier than she retired in 2018. As a passionate environmentalist who loves biking the Rivergreenway and paddling the rivers, Rowand’s security issues motivated her to put in writing in regards to the proposed growth close to the southwest nook of Parnell Avenue and Spy Run Prolonged. “The general public I do know who use this path had no concept that this was occurring,” she stated. “I felt a letter to the editor was one of the best ways to let the general public know of this growth.”


Extra humane strategy would resolve jail disaster

This letter is to handle issues because the county plans to construct a brand new $350 million jail whereas persevering with to spend 70% of its finances on regulation enforcement. Does it actually require such great sources to maintain us protected?

Nearly all of the jail inhabitants are non-violent offenders; a big quantity are drug offenders. Locking somebody in a cage is a violent act, solely applicable for an individual who commits violent acts. I suggest, somewhat than constructing a much bigger jail, we alleviate overcrowding on the present one by taking a common sense strategy to the drug drawback.

Indiana prosecutors will let you know that medication destroy households and communities, and prosecuting these concerned stays their prime precedence. The harm finished by medication is severely multiplied by their reply to the issue – incarceration: kids lose a father, wives lose a husband, landlords lose a renter, employers lose a employee, native companies lose a buyer, and taxpayers lose the cash to deal with the inmate and supply for his now-indigent household.

By putting giant numbers of individuals in a prison surroundings and denying them housing and employment after they get out, we have now expanded the prison class and its ensuing marketplace for medication.

Dealing costs ought to be reserved for these promoting supply-level portions. We must always abandon the follow of letting confidential informants pin a dealing case on any drug consumer they will discuss into it. That’s entrapment. Possession of small quantities ought to be handled as misdemeanors, with applicable therapy and supervision as penalties.

These modifications in regulation enforcement technique alone would remove the necessity for a brand new jail and permit for humane situations at our present one. A extra viable therapy program that features a path to profitable employment may even cut back the charges of drug use. We all know what doesn’t work, what we’ve finished for the final 50 years: robust jail sentencing.

Please be a part of me on the subsequent a number of Fort Wayne Metropolis Council conferences to see whether or not we will get them to take a extra common sense strategy to regulation enforcement. It’s our neighbors, family and friends members who pay the worth of those excessive punishments.

In regards to the writer

Neighborhood matters pull the perfect ideas and prose from our letter writers. For first-time author Justin Bender, the county jail concern resonated sufficient for him to ship us a letter, and his response is December’s Golden Pen winner.

The 42-year-old Ossian resident is a lifelong Journal Gazette reader, Iraq Conflict vet and building operator foreman. “What prompted me to put in writing the letter is my perception in a authorities by the individuals,” he instructed The Journal Gazette.

“If the vast majority of the residents don’t want extra mass incarceration, it shouldn’t be compelled upon us. I’m additionally answering the biblical name (Hebrews 13:3) ‘Keep in mind these in jail as for those who had been their fellow prisoners, and those that are mistreated as you yourselves had been struggling.’ ”

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